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Gartner Symposium CIO Lessons: Customer Service Counts

The difference between failure and delight is 10 percent.

Let's talk about 10 percent. I've decided that this is the difference between excellence and disappointment.

I had a lot of time to think about this magical 10 percent while I was attending the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo in Orlando, Fla., last week. When you're at any one of these huge conferences, you get to see the convergence of many systems and individuals charged with providing services to the public, in the form of hotel and conference center staff, event organizers, area restaurants, and nearby entertainment venues. None of these observations are unique to the Gartner Symposium itself; these could have occurred at any conference or trade show for any industry in any location around the world.

Some of the customer interactions I observed during my time in Orlando appeared to have customers feeling absolutely delighted (frequently without regard to whether they'd left the exchange with the good or service originally intended). Other exchanges I witnessed resulted in an angry, frustrated customer -- even if they left with the purchase they wanted to make. What was the difference?

It was surprising to learn that it wasn't really the "big things" that made a crucial difference between a positive experience and a negative one. Oh, sure, customers want to leave an exchange having received the product or service they wanted. But they really wanted other things from the experience as well -- things that generally don't cost much money to provide. These things live in the critical 10 percent of the transaction.

CIOs and other IT leaders could learn some crucial lessons from the customer service exchanges I witnessed during my time in Orlando. Applying these basic customer service lessons could pay dividends when questions are asked about the value that IT returns to the company. Let's look at some of the things customers want, and how IT can make these things happen within their own organizations, for their own customers.

Read the rest of this article on Enterprise Efficiency.

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